7.1/10
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229 user 293 critic

Margin Call (2011)

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Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.

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2,575 ( 239)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Executive Assistant
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Security Guard
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Louis Carmelo
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Storyline

A respected financial company is downsizing and one of the victims is the risk management division head, who was working on a major analysis just when he was let go. His protégé completes the study late into the night and then frantically calls his colleagues in about the company's financial disaster he has discovered. What follows is a long night of panicked double checking and double dealing as the senior management prepare to do whatever it takes to mitigate the debacle to come even as the handful of conscientious comrades find themselves dragged along into the unethical abyss. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Be first. Be smarter. Or cheat.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

29 September 2011 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El precio de la codicia  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$561,904 (USA) (21 October 2011)

Gross:

$5,354,039 (USA) (17 February 2012)
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Moundsville Bridge mentioned by Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) actually exists. It was completed in 1986, which would have been twenty-two years before the debt crash of 2008, which is the subject of this movie. See more »

Goofs

The use of rooftop helipads in NYC was banned after 9/11. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Seth Bregman: Just like that? Jesus Christ! Are they going to do it right here?
Will Emerson: You guys ever been through this before?
Seth Bregman: No.
Will Emerson: It's best to keep your head down and ignore it. Keep your head down and go back to work.
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Crazy Credits

Several names are listed as the "Jeremy Irons Visa Miracle Team" who were able to get Irons into the US to film his scenes in New York City. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Estrenos Críticos: La Cosa (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Wolves
Performed by Matthew Houck (as Phosphorescent)
Written by Matthew Houck
Courtesy of Dead Oceans
By arrangement with Bank Robber Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quietly gripping morality tale - a near perfect movie
23 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Saw this last night. Set at a Wall Street firm on the night in 2008 when the leaders realize that changes in the market will wipe them out if they don't immediately stop selling the products that have been making them all rich, the movie centers on the moral dilemma - recognized by some characters but dismissed by others - that they face in unwinding their positions, saving themselves but shifting the pain to others.

The movie finds a way to hold the mirror up to our civilization, showing how we are all complicit in a collective 'dream' (one character says at one point, in response to another who says he feels like he is in a 'dream', 'Funny, it seems like I just woke up'). The dream is the illusion of easy, risk-managed wealth that the financial markets manufacture, again and again, since the emergence of capital markets 200 years ago, until the illusion morphs overnight into a panic. Reality intervenes, fear takes over, and the 'survivor' is the guy who first reaches the lifeboat. So there are no villains in this movie, just people, richly drawn, beautifully acted characters realized by some of our best actors who relish the opportunity to show what they can do given a killer script and enough screen time between lines to actually be the people they are portraying.

Central to the movie's success:

1) It gets across the essence of what is going on in the financial markets without bogging us down or dumbing it down

2) finding a moral question that can be resolved in a night, yet which is nevertheless a perfect allegory for the whole set of moral questions raised by an economy that works the way ours does, rewarding false confidence, recklessness, and deceit as often as industry, skill, and integrity

3) the placement of young, innocent but perceptive characters at the center of the drama, who function as our eyes and ears, who are like stand-ins for all of us who weren't there, at the heart of the dream machine, when the latest fantasy of easy wealth was exposed as a collective delusion

4) really 'gets' the trader ethos and manner - they are a kind of warrior caste, foul-mouthed, impulsive, deeply selfish, surviving by their ability to outplay their counterparts, and yet living by a warrior code that sets boundaries on what they will and will not do to one another (having spent three years on Wall Street several panics ago, it rang as true as any movie I have seen on the subject)

It's like Mamet, except you don't have to work as hard to figure out what everyone's up to. It's like Chinatown, except the 'crime' is something far worse than molesting a single young girl. These guys f****d the entire planet, for Ch*****sake. It's like the best movie I've seen in a little while.

What an incredibly sure hand from a director on his maiden voyage! Who is this guy? Whoever you are, please don't stop. I would pay a lot to see what he could do with topics like 'the decision to go to war', or 'the emergence of China/India/Brazil/Indonesia from poverty to global player'. Hell I would go see him revive Mother Goose, after this debut.

I'll calm down now. Enjoy.


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